The Dell B1165nfw is a logical purchase if you're shopping for a no-frills, monochrome laser printer to output simple, text-heavy documents, but still want the functionality of an all-in-one output machine.
Armed with the ability to function as a standalone scanner, copier, and fax machine, the $199.99 Dell B1165nfw is just as capable of flipping through a 40-page document stack for automatic copying as it is of printing directly from an Android smartphone, thanks to the Dell Mobile Print App.
Additionally, the option to connect to a wireless network without the need for a password is a boon for the office set, or anyone who might have frequent guests using the printer.
For its relatively low price and collection of useful features designed to expedite workflow in small offices, the Dell B1165nfw monolaser printer earns our recommendation with an asterisk for its lack of access to external storage drives.
At just 11.7 inches tall, 15.8 inches wide, 11.5 inches deep, and weighing 16.75 pounds with the toner cartridge installed, the compact B1165nfw is an ideal size for small offices that don't operate at a print volume requiring a full-size stand-up work group printer.
Whereas other laser printers offer a touch-screen interface with virtual buttons and the option to edit photos directly on the control panel, this Dell makes a budgetary concession by forgoing the fancy interface in favor of a simple two-line LCD display on a control panel that tilts up and down to achieve an optimal viewing angle. You can also use the printer with all the drawers folded tight into the chassis to save even more space.
There's limited real estate on the control panel, but Dell keeps all the buttons neatly organized and easy to understand. With so many printers incorporating touch screens just for tech's sake, it's refreshing to have all your options laid out in an intuitive fashion with classic tactile buttons.
Aside from the display, you'll also find a numerical touch pad for inputting phone numbers for the fax machine, eight quick keys for storing frequently used contacts, and three feature keys (scan, copy, and fax), as well as hot buttons for ID copy and another for immediate access to the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS). Finally, there's a small LCD on the bottom to indicate print status -- a blinking red light is also used to notify you of paper jams, though none occurred during our testing.
Contrary to the printer stereotype, setting up the wireless printing functions and creating a connection with your home computer takes minutes rather than hours, thanks to Dell's proprietary Easy WiFi Installer. The box also includes a driver disc that walks you through the setup process, but I was up in half a minute using Easy WiFi Installer after just tapping on the name of my network after the printer sniffed out available connections.
Perhaps the most convenient side note to this feature is the fact that you don't have to input the network password to gain access, making it an ideal ad hoc solution for offices that need walk-up availability for guests.
Another useful feature for the business world, both home and in the office, is Dell's ID Copy button, which sits on top of the control panel. This setting makes it easy to duplicate both sides of an ID card on a single sheet of paper. You can even use it in conjunction with compatible Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software programs to automatically import the card data into your address book.